African-American Tag

Diversity, Environmental Justice, Interview / 30.07.2009

[caption id="attachment_543" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="Tanya Fields"]Tanya Fields[/caption] Too many of us presume that nature is out there, far away in a National Park or in some distant foreign land. Many of us who live in cities especially never truly realize that nature is all around us every day of our lives. We probably take for granted the importance of fresh drinking water, clean air and access to nutritious sustainably produced food. Tanya Fields aims to change that. -- Formerly a hip-hop artist and spoken word poet, Fields now works as the operations manager of the Majora Carter Group, a green-economic development organization in New York City. In her Bronx neighborhood Fields has started a community garden to provide healthy dietary choices for her community and give her family a natural setting to engage in an active lifestyle outdoors.  She’s also fighting for social justice in an effort to claim the environmental rights of people disenfranchised by a legacy of racial discrimination and urban poverty. Introduced to the Joy Trip Project by Chagents, an online social network sponsored by the outdoor footwear and apparel brand Timberland, Fields tells her story in this interview.
Diversity / 01.07.2009

[caption id="attachment_365" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="photo by Dudley Edmondson"]Photo by Dudley Edmonson[/caption] A new national conference is set to begin on September 23rd.  A group of African American environmental activists and outdoor enthusiasts will gather in Atlanta Georgia to have a frank discussion on issues of race in the movement to preserve wild and scenic places.  Called Breaking the Color Barrier in The Great Outdoors, this conference promises to bring together people of color to talk about their role in protecting the natural environment for future generations. For details visit www.breakingthecolorbarrier.com -- After 20 years in the outdoor business for me this conference is a long time in coming. As a person of color myself I’ve spent my career silently hoping that more people who look like me would find themselves enjoying the wilderness areas I love. -- If only diversity in outdoor recreation were simply a matter of race. Then we might just think about ignoring it. Those who take comfort in the peace and solitude of wilderness, mostly white folks, would likely prefer to keep nature’s hideaways safely preserved for their own use. And as long as the growing minority population of black and brown folks elects to avoid these wild and scenic places, favoring instead foreign travel and urban pastimes, what’s the harm?